Canadian Packaging

Organic Growth

A healthy mix of organic products and sustainable packaging keeps Montreal produce company in the green


October 20, 2010
by ANDREW JOSEPH, FEATURES EDITOR

Michael Orsini, president of the Montreal-based Bercy Foods, shows off some of his company’s Bio Buenisima organic fruits that are shipped in Norampac’s waxless NorShield boxes. PHOTOS BY PIERRE LONGTIN

A diet rich in fruits and veggies has long been touted as a key prerequisite for sound nutritional health and lifestyle, and it has done absolute wonders in the last three years for the financial well-being of Montreal-based Les Aliments Bercy (Bercy Foods)—a family-owned processor and packager of fresh produce that is quickly emerging as one of the Canadian industry’s more progressive and environmentally-conscientious players.

Operating as an offshoot of Courchesne Larose Ltd.—one of Canada’s oldest and largest fruit and vegetable importers and distributors—Bercy may not yet be quite the household word its owners want it to become one day, but with revenues of over $20 million in 2009, there appears to be plenty of growth upside and momentum for a business that has only opened up its doors in 2007.

“Business has been great for us since we began operations,” says company president Michael Orsini, who is also a co-owner of the fast-growing enterprise named after a downtown Montreal street where Courchesne Larose, owned by the Routhier family, was founded more than 90 years ago.

So great in fact, Orsini relates, that the upstart company has already had to move its operations twice to a bigger facility—having relocated to its current state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot premises in Montreal’s north end last year.

“It already feels as though we may need to move into an even larger facility yet again to keep up with our growth, so that we can add processing lines for both fruits and vegetables,” Orsini told Canadian Packaging in a recent interview.

Serving high-profile foodservice operators and retailers across eastern Canada—including the likes of Metro (Metro Richelieu Inc.), Sobeys Inc. and Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.—the company offers an extensive range of processed and packaged produce, with certified organic products now accounting for about half of Bercy’s 300 or so SKUs (stock-keeping units).